GINA STILE AND VIXEN

By Anne Leighton

Back in 1988, Roman and I started to write a book together. It was either gonna be called "Sirens" or "She Rock." The gist of it was to cover women in music. Also, back in 1988 I had known about the members of the 1998 Vixen for a few years. Drummer Roxy had auditioned for David Lee Roth's band, but Greg Bissonette got the gig. She was also a member of Madam X along with guitarist Maxine Petrucci. My all-time favorite guitarist Rick Derringer had produced them in 1985, and I interviewed their singer for CREEM magazine. The following year I interviewed a group called Poison Dollies for CREEM. Although I wasn't too impressed by the Poison Dollies, I was totally blown away by guitarist Gina Stile. Ms. Stile had a phenomenal touch on the guitar and she was every bit as expressive as Carlos Santana. The thing is that she could rock. As I began work on the book with Roman, I told him about Gina, but he had no idea where she was. Even the Poison Dollies didn't know how to find Gina. At the same time, I had a day job at HIT PARADER. One day I had a job to sort photos. As I sorted, I came across a small shot of a band called ENVY from Atlantic Records. I stared at the picture---it was Gina and her sister, whose name I can't remember.

Naturally, I freaked out, called the publicist and begged for an interview. Naturally, I got it. Gina spoke about enjoying one's art, first and foremost. She also mentioned that Dee Snider had produced the Envy album. If it wasn't for Dee Snider---and his band, Twisted Sister---I'd never have become a metal head. Anyhow, Roman and I put Gina's interview in the first chapter of the book. We finished the first chapter and the proposal. Then Roman died. I tried for about two years to find a publisher for the book, then lost interest in that exact proposal. During that time, I met the first incarnation of Vixen. Roxy and I totally hit it off. She had that attitude of, "I'm gonna play because I love to play."

By 1992 Vixen had broken up and Roxy began playing with Maxine in Madam X again. In time I began hearing rumors that Roxy was trying to start other Vixen-like groups and had contacted everyone from Chrissie Steele to Lorraine Levy.

Ultimately it was Gina Stile and Roxy who hit it off as players. I was very happy to hear that truth, and then we found out that the band was indeed Vixen---and featured original singer Janet Gardner. It was great to hear on the group's new disc, "Tangerine" (CMC) how Janet's voice has become muskier and sexier. Maxine is playing bass for the group and everybody is happy, rocking on the road.

I love seeing how people's lives evolve in music. It's very nice when they interlope, because when it comes to rock and roll, it really helps to have friends rocking with you! It makes it that much easier to survive and feel good.

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